Allan Ruhl Still Has Much to Learn from Muslims and Christine Ford
“Can ye (o ye men of Faith) entertain the hope that they will believe in you? Seeing that a party of them heard the Word of Allah, and perverted it knowingly after they understood it.”
– The Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:75
Allan Ruhl has written a brief reply to the points I raised in response to his article about the Ford-Kavanaugh controversy and its apparent application to Muslim-Christian dialogue. Here is my response to his rebuttal.
Regarding the beliefs about the “Prophet”, Ruhl wrote the following:
“Faiz tries to quote literature before Jesus and John the Baptist’s conversation with Temple authorities to show that is was popular to have lots of ideas of prophets and messiahs at that time. There were a lot of ideas floating around.
A lot of ideas were out there so the context for Surah 61:6 seems plausible, right? However, Surah 61 doesn’t quote rumors floating around at the time of Christ. It quotes Christ Himself and this is where the argument gets bad for Faiz.”
So Ruhl claims that since there were “a lot of ideas floating around” (naturally, he simply assumes which ideas to reject and which to accept without evidence), and Surah 61 does not “quote rumors” but rather Jesus (peace be upon him) himself, the problem (as he sees it) with Surah 61 remains. But Ruhl does not realize that I already dealt with this in my first response. As I said:
“…since John the Baptist did not correct the Jews for thinking that the “Prophet” and the “Messiah” were two different people, then it follows that they were really supposed to be two different people, which contradicts the Christian claim that Jesus (peace be upon him) was both. Indeed, the disciples are said to have referred to Jesus (peace be upon him) as the Messiah, but never as “the Prophet”, at least not until after Jesus was already gone!”
If the belief in a separate “Prophet” and a separate “Messiah” was wrong, then why didn’t John the Baptist (peace be upon him) correct this false belief? Why didn’t Jesus (peace be upon him) correct it? In fact, Jesus (peace be upon him) never emphasized the “Prophet” prophecy as referring to himself, but always emphasized his role as the “Messiah”. This demonstrates that he also did not see himself as the promised “Prophet” of Deuteronomy 18, even though people were wondering if he was that prophet. The same applies to John the Baptist (peace be upon him). Neither prophet identified themselves as “the Prophet”.
Next, Ruhl wrote:
“[w]hile people around Jesus seemed to be talking about prophets and messiahs left, right, and centre, Jesus slammed the door on all of them. He said that he was the only Messiah and no one else.”
Here we agree. Jesus (peace be upon him) referred to himself as the “Messiah”, but NEVER as “the Prophet”. Ruhl wants to conveniently overlook this glaring omission on the part of his savior. But Ruhl’s special pleading doesn’t end there. He writes:
“[o]bviously Christ talked about key theological issues but no messenger named Ahmad who was going to contradict His message. No ensemble of messiahs. No future prophets to come. If you want to say that He believed in another prophet, why not say He believed in additional messiahs? We both know why. It’s because seventh century Arabs don’t put these words or ideas in His mouth.”
Ruhl doesn’t seem to realize that if his savior did not talk about the “Prophet”, then he was making a huge omission, since this “Prophet” was literally prophesied by Moses (peace be upon him) and Jews had been excitedly expecting his arrival for CENTURIES. By neglecting to identify this Prophet, either as himself or someone else, Jesus (peace be upon him) failed to clarify this important prophecy. If he was “the Prophet”, then why didn’t he make it clear? This is probably why later Christians, such as the author of the book of Acts, were hard-pressed to fix the problem by claiming that Jesus (peace be upon him) was that prophet all along! It seems Ruhl and his Christian brethren just want the benefit of the doubt, something they will not extend to Muslims or Dr. Christine Ford for that matter.
To back up his faulty logic, Ruhl used an even more faulty analogy. Using the American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Ruhl wrote:
“[a]t the time of MLK there were people all over America in favor of racist laws. So maybe MLK supported these racist laws? After all, they were popular at the time in America so it fits the context of King’s time. However it doesn’t fit into the context of King himself as everything that we know from King shows that he opposed these racist laws.”
It doesn’t take much effort to demolish this poor analogy, but we can’t fault Ruhl for trying. Of course MLK would not have supported racist laws! That is what he was fighting against! He made that clear in his “I Have a Dream” speech, where he envisioned an America where people are not judged by the color of their skin. If MLK, as a Civil Rights icon, failed to express his criticisms of racist laws, then he would not have made a very good civil rights leader, would he?
Ruhl actually shoots himself in the foot with this analogy, because if we can apply this analogy to his savior, then we can show him to be a very bad savior, who failed to clarify an important matter to clear up people’s confusion, which forced his confused followers to clarify the matter for themselves later on. Since Peter allegedly referred to the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18 (as claimed by the book of Acts), then clearly the expectation of “the Prophet” was still on people’s minds. Ruhl’s savior failed to answer their questions on this matter, so his followers had to finish the job for him.
Ruhl also credulously stated:
“It’s true we don’t have every word ever said or written by King but his words that we don’t have wouldn’t go against the words of his that we know. Unless of course Faiz wants to try to prove that King supported racist laws in America.”
It is a mystery as to how he thinks this refutes the evidence I showed from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament. We have actual written words showing the expectation of a “Prophet” and a “Messiah”, two different individuals. Since Ruhl’s savior failed to explain that these two expected figures were actually one and the same, the conundrum for him and his fellow Christians remains: neither Jesus nor John the Baptist (peace be upon them both) ever verbally claimed to be “the Prophet” that was expected to come. So to repeat what I said in my first response:
“…the evidence for the Quran’s claim about Jesus prophesying Muhammad (peace be upon them both) is at least historically plausible, though one can say that the “Nazarene” prophesy is simply lost to history. Similarly, Dr. Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh are plausible since even Kavanaugh acknowledged that he was prone to getting drunk, and there is some corroboration from other witnesses that Ford’s story has remained consistent for years. Indeed, people who have known Dr. Ford have stated that she told them about the assault years before Kavanaugh was even nominated for the Supreme Court. This lends credibility to her allegations, which is more than we can say about the Bible’s credibility. Perhaps Ruhl should take this into consideration. There is much he can learn from Muslims and Dr. Ford!”
It seems Ruhl still has much to learn.
Before closing his article, Ruhl asked the following question:
“I would also like to ask any Muslim who looks at John 1 and the conversation between John the Baptist and the Temple authorities and ask: “Why don’t you accept everything in this chapter?””
This is a rather silly question to ask. Christian apologists like to use this argument as a desperate last resort, but it is nothing more than a fallacy. First of all, Muslims (or anyone else for that matter) are under no obligation to believe everything written in the New Testament or any other book, outside of the Quran. No book, other than the Quran, is perfect, not even the books on hadith. Second, I referred to the Gospel of John to show how Ruhl’s own scripture speaks against his double standards. He realizes that he is stuck between a rock and a hard place, but he still cannot seem to let go of those pesky double standards. Third, “why” should we believe that episode and not necessarily the rest of the chapter? The answer is simple: the theological aspects of the first chapter are the author’s own beliefs, whereas the episode with John the Baptist (peace be upon him) illustrates what others believed. But the catch is that there is historical evidence for what the Jews believed about “the Prophet”, even before Christianity ever existed, but there is no historical evidence that any of the prophets taught a belief in the dying and rising god who came to wash away people’s sins.
I look forward to Ruhl’s explanation of the “Nazarene” prophecy. Let us see if he can be objective at least once.
And Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best!